Review: Let Love In (#1, The Love Series) by Melissa Collins - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review: Let Love In (#1, The Love Series) by Melissa Collins

LLI

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Synopsis

What would happen if you lost everything? If the people who were supposed to love you unconditionally were no longer there for you, how would your world change?

Madeleine Becker lost everything when her parents died when she was ten years old. Ripped from her home and everything that she has ever loved, she is forced to start all over again. The only way for her to move on is to build walls around her heart and keep everyone at a safe distance. Her logic: she can’t get hurt if she doesn’t fall in love.

That theory is blown to pieces when she meets Reid Connely during her freshman year at college. He is gorgeous and darkly mysterious. He understands Maddy’s pain all too well, but sharing his pain would mean breaking down the walls he put up around his own heart. Conflicted between loving Maddy and hiding his dark past, Reid starts to reevaluate his world. Maddy’s inner strength, snarky personality and breath taking beauty help Reid to make peace with his past.

Together they find out what happens when they let love in.

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My Review

“I am truly alone… I am shocked by the sadness that pervades my feature. My whole body sags under the weight of my life… I want a do-over. I want to be happy for once. I want so badly to love myself and to love my life — to know that someone really and truly loves me.”

This was a really solid read that I devoured in one sitting. It was romantic and sexy with just a little bit of angst. The pacing of the book was interesting to me. When we first learn about Maddy, we realize she’s suffered a terrible tragedy, losing her parents at such a young age. Maddy feels alone in the world and for purposes of self-preservation, she’s built walls around her heart, unable to really let love in. Before she leaves for college, she is intent on making a change.

“Choose happy. Appreciate beauty. Let love in.”

Despite her newly adopted mantra, I expected it to be difficult to break through those walls, but when she meets seemingly bad boy Reed Connely, it’s instant attraction for them both… an undeniable pull she feels throughout her entire body.

“Reid is the epitome of tall, dark, and fucking amazingly handsome. And even that description doesn’t seem to cut it.”

But after their first encounter, Reid pushes her away… he’s mean, hurtful and aggressive and Maddy vows to forget him.

“I guess I can choose happy as much as I want, but it doesn’t mean much if I’m not chosen back.”

For awhile, Maddy and Reid are stuck in a push and pull dynamic. Since the story is told through dual Maddy/Reid POV, we learn more about Reid and what he’s feeling and thinking. It seems that Reid is also harboring some real issues related to his past… painful secrets he keeps deeply buried, but that haunt him on a daily basis. He’s afraid of what he feels for Maddy, but soon realizes his feelings are only intensifying…what he feels for Maddy will not be waned.

“You’ve completely knocked me off my game. I’ve never met anyone like you, and it scares the shit out of me. it’s like you don’t see me… you see straight through me. You see beyond the outside, and it’s like you see the me that no one else sees.”

I did feel that the intensity of their feelings built a little too quickly in the beginning and that the character arcs transformed a little too rapidly. What I mean by this is that Maddy’s walls broke more easily than I thought, allowing Reid into her heart, while Reid went from bad boy with a notorious reputation, to boy in love rather quickly. I would have loved to see more angst… a slower evolution for both of the main characters to maximize impact and deepen the connection with the reader.

“I’ve fallen for her hard and fast, and I know it. I’m fairly certain that I fell in love with her that first time we danced, but over the last six weeks those feelings have definitely solidified and rocked me to my core.”

Reid, however, does morph into quite an amazing boyfriend… loving, caring, thoughtful and protective and I  loved the way he really wanted to make Maddy happy. He took the time to get to know her, figure out what she needed and found a way to give her exactly the right things, the right words to make her happy.

“You bring more happiness into my life than I ever thought I deserved.”

The more the story unfolded, the more I was actually drawn into Reid as a character. He’s flawed, volatile and aggressive and carries a lot of self-placed guilt. My heart really hurt for him because I could see how good of a person he was. He doesn’t think he deserves Maddy and he’s sure that she’ll leave him when she knows the truth.

“She’s already lost so much and dealt with a ton of pain. I know for certain if she finds out what a horrible person I am on the inside that she’d never give me a chance. No matter how close she gets, she can’t ever know that part of me.”

I have to say, the last 20 to 25% or so of the book was awesome and engaging. It picked up the pace, gave me some of that intensified angst I had been desiring and packed some unforeseen action with plot twists that left me feeling breathless, my heart shattering and my greedy little hands wanting the next book! The story doesn’t end in a cliffhanger but it doesn’t have an HEA. The plot twists that came into play change the path of the next book and we know there’s so much more to happen between Reid and Maddy. I think with the way that this book evolved, knowing what I know at the end of the story, I’m even more excited to read book 2, Let Love Stay. I hope the angst continues before we get our HEA and I also hope we see a more realistic pace for character metamorphosis. The way Melissa Collins set it up, I think that’s what we’ll be seeing and I can’t wait to read more.

Let Love Stay, book 2 in The Love Series will be out July 31st.

“I’ve already let love in. He’s not only in my heart; he owns it. Now I just have to keep him there and never let him go.”

GOODREADS2

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